Why I Didn’t Freak Out When My Child Ran Away

I vividly remember the cold, rainy night our 15-year-old son left a note saying: “I’m too mad to be at home. I’ve left. Don’t come looking for me because you won’t find me. Don’t worry, I’ll be safe.”

I did what any panicked, desperate parent would do. I disobeyed my son. I worried madly, ignored the note, called close friends and went looking for him. I imagined every worst-case scenario. My child could freeze to death in the rain, or be abducted from some dark, dreary hiding place. It’s amazing how quickly our fear grips us when we feel our loved ones could be in danger.

As my mind whirled at a million miles a minute, I started wondering which of my child’s friends he might turn to — and then my mind stopped.  I realized: If indeed our child landed in the home of any friend, we would have no worries. We were comfortable with all his friends and knew he would be safe.

As I reviewed the list of possibilities, my intense fear gave way to a twinkle of comfort and hope. The only viable options for our child were the kind of people who would care for our son, provide a safe harbor, and reinforce the values we hold so dear.

The forming of this kind of community was no accident.

When parenting gets overwhelming — and it’s bound to get overwhelming sometimes — there can be great comfort in the coming together of community in support of one another. This can be especially encouraging when there are others who will affirm and reinforce transforming love and guidance for my children.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all people. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

~1 Corinthians 12:4-7

These are familiar verses – each believer is called to contribute his or her unique gifts as part of the body of Christ. These verses are usually applied to the ministry of the local church. Could it be, however, that the first arena where we’re called to be a body-of-Christ community is in the raising of our children?

Over the years our family has prioritized the forming of a community of support — consider making the formation of a safe, connected community part of the fabric of your family.

Apply It Now:

  • If “it takes a village” to raise your children, who is in your “village”?
  • How could you be more intentional about surrounding your family and your children with a community of people who are safe and supportive?

This post is an excerpt from our book, How to Grow a Connected Family.

Sign up below to receive a weekly dose of encouragement straight to your inbox: